Carrot cake, for grownups

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Cakes / Dessert / vegan

A little bit boozy, a little bit fancy. A whole lot of delicious.

Don’t be put off by the number of elements here, they are all quite simple and totally worth it. The praline is deep caramel with the deliciousness of the seeds – think adult sesame snaps.

The praline is deep caramel with the deliciousness of the seeds – think adult sesame snaps. The carrot gel brings a much-needed hit of ‘real’ carrot flavour to the cake, lightening the rum and raisin element and adding a pop of colour. It’s a little reminiscent of pumpkin puree, sets very quickly and takes minutes to prepare – a hit. Both the praline and carrot gel makes more than you will probably need, but I promise you will find thinks to sprinkle or spread them on. I recommend serving them alongside the cake for people to add to their plate as they wish.

You can tinker with the spices as you wish. The rum is there for background and is not overpowering. Heating the rum and raisins plumps the dried fruit and gets the flavour in there without adding too much moisture.

The freezing and whipping process of Yummybeet’s cashew buttercream is absolutely worth it for the creamy, melt in your mouth result. If you forget to soak the cashews the night before, you can boil them for 10-15 minutes to soften, but may not get quite the same level of smooth lusciousness.


Carrot Cake


Carrot Cake with Cashew Rum Buttercream, Carrot Gel & Sesame & Pepita Praline

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Carrot Cake


  • 90g raisins
  • 100g dark rum
  • 70g pistachios
  • 190g muscovado sugar
  • 150g coconut yoghurt
  • 135g rice bran oil
  • 135g cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp of bi-carb soda
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 230g grated carrot


  1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C (fan-forced). Grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Place the raisins and dark rum in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute, set aside.
  3. In a small pan, toast the pistachios over medium-low heat until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Set aside to cool.
  4. Place the sugar, yoghurt and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes, until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and there are no lumps of sugar.
  5. Sift in the flour, bi-carb soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  6. Strain the raisins and add to the mixture with 1 teaspoon of the rum, reserve the remainder. Fold in the raisins, carrots and toasted pistachios.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake is ready when it springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
  8. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. The cake is very moist but will firm as it cools.

Cashew Rum Buttercream – Adapted from Yummybeet’s Ultimate Cashew Buttercream Frosting

Follow the recipe as per the link above, with a couple of adjustments:

  • Omit the almond extract
  • Replace the maple syrup with light agave syrup
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved rum from the carrot cake recipe (or to taste)

Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Carrot Gel


  • 350g fresh carrot juice
  • 50g muscovado sugar (or to taste)
  • 3.15g agar agar powder, not flakes


  1. Combine the carrot juice, sugar and agar agar powder in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Bring to the boil and boil for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and allow to set at room temperature, about 1/2 an hour
  4. Once set, use an immersion blender to blitz the gel until creamy and smooth.

Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Sesame & Pepita Praline


  • 200g sugar
  • 50g sesame seeds (black or white, I used black)
  • 50g pepitas
  • Sea Salt


  • Lightly toast the sesame seeds and pepitas over a medium heat until fragrant.
  • In a small saucepan, carefully heat the sugar until it starts to melt (do not stir).
  • Once the sugar is melting, gently swirl the pan to mix the sugar.
  • Heat the sugar until it is completely liquid and a medium caramel colour, this can happen very quickly, so watch it carefully.
  • When the sugar is ready, add in the sesame seeds and pepitas. Stir to distribute and immediately pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Let the praline sit for a couple of minutes, and then sprinkle with sea salt to taste before it’s fully set.
  • Allow the praline to cool completely.
  • Once cool, break off a few shards and reserve for decoration.
  • With the remaining praline, break it into smallish pieces and pulse in a food processor until you have a nicely textured crumb.


  1. Once the cake is completely cold, split it in half and fill with half the cashew buttercream.
  2. Spread the remaining buttercream on top and smooth the surface.
  3. Push the shards into the cake so that they are upright.
  4. Sprinkle the praline crumb around the shards.
  5. Pipe the carrot gel in between the shards and praline crumbs.
  6. Serve immediately.

As the praline is essentially sugar, it will melt due to the moisture in the buttercream. It’s best to decorate the cake just before serving, but it will still be delicious if it has to be prepared a few hours in advance, just be aware that the praline will melt somewhat, which gives a nice caramel flavour.

You could serve the cake iced with the buttercream and plate with a smear of the gel and sprinkling of praline crumb to pretty effect instead.

Due to the coconut oil in the buttercream, the cake must be stored in the fridge to prevent the frosting becoming too soft.

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